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Other Stuff Thread, 1.4 Car towing ? in Fun Stuff; Assuming all goes well money wise am or will be looking at getting a quad bike in aprox a years ...
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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    1.4 Car towing ?

    Assuming all goes well money wise am or will be looking at getting a quad bike in aprox a years time but the car I have currently is a 1.4 Nissan Almera Ambition petrol

    Was curious on a few points :

    1. Is it possible to adjust the tuning of the car ie torque so that it is better at pulling instead of speed and if so is this very costly to do ?

    If answer to question 1 is it is costly then I presume its cheaper to buy another car, if so any suggestions ( hoping no bigger then a 1.5 petrol, not sure on the diesel side although I do know that I don't want insurance / tax etc to be expensive )

    I won't be towing more then aprox 15 miles , not massively hilly from what I am aware.

    Dry weight of quad bike as per specs is 279 Kg

    Quad bike has a 16.3 litre fuel tank + Oil, Brake fluid and any other liquids if I am missing anything ??

    Not sure how much the liquids will weigh ( fuel, oil etc ) so I would guesstimate the total weight of quad bike ( wet weight ) at around 350Kg give or take a bit

    Trailer will be aprox 140Kg for arguements sake

    About 500Kg in total

    I presume my 1.4 would be able to tow it, am not expecting to be able to go fast and I think 50 or 60 mph is the max ( could be wrong on this - need to check around )

    Also will be looking at doing the soddin towing course ( as I passed my drivers license in 2008 which is obviously after 1997, dang and blast :-S

    Any ideas on the cost of the towing course and roughly what this entails - been reading around on DVLA etc and am getting a little confused with it all - just need the simples answer

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    maniac's Avatar
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    1.4 will struggle a bit, but should be fine. As a family, my dad has a 1.4 Vauxhall Astra in the 1990's which we used to go on holiday using. That's 4 of us, plus luggage plus trailer tent also stuffed with all sorts of other things hanging off the back. It was a bit sluggish on the hills, but it was perfectally fine overall.

    Make sure your engine is well serviced thou, as the additional strain will exaggerate any problems in particular change the oil if it's not been done for a while.

    Also I had no idea you had to do a course before you could tow anything. I've towed loads of things and passed my test in 1998, was blissfully un-aware I was breaking the law, whoops!
    Last edited by maniac; 13th December 2010 at 07:16 PM.

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    Gave you positive rep ( at least I hope it was positive ) , apologies if it wasn't !!

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    In the early 70s I had a 1250cc Hillman Avenger estate and towed our caravan to Scotland and back. I spent most of the M5/M6 in 3rd gear. Luckily, a gallon of petrol was around 50p.

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    I won't be traveling far so that's good

    Any ideas ref towing course - how it works - pricing on the towing course ( whatever you want to call it )

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    rad
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    Quote Originally Posted by mac_shinobi View Post
    I won't be traveling far so that's good

    Any ideas ref towing course - how it works - pricing on the towing course ( whatever you want to call it )
    I feel valid to post here!

    I have had a Tow bar fitted to the last 3 of my cars, 1.6 petrol, 1.8 petrol and 1.8 diesel. The 1.6 towed things fine, sometimes without noticing, I was towing a Laser sailing dinghy, road base and launching trolley, total weight about 250kg. Towing in a straight line is easy, going round a corner, watch for your trailer and if you put it in reverse, its easy when you know how, everything is the opposite way round.

    As for the towing test. This is a very grey area, as to whether or not you need to do the test. The Trailer Towing test (B+E) is required if you passed your test after 1997 and intend on towing a "heavy" trailer. By heavy it is to do with the MAM gross weight of the car and towing trailer combined can't go over 3500kg. Other people state that its all braked trailer etc.

    I take it that I am unable to tow any braked trailer (with a handbrake attached) and are no more than 750kg total.

    The trailer test (I have attempted, another story) is easy to learn once you have done a few towing drives. The test consists of a left hand reverse to a box section, a controlled stop (at 20mph) and then 50 minute on the road driving including hill starts, layby pull ins and down hill starts. There are a few questions that are stupid you have to answer.

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    teejay's Avatar
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    If you've got 4 fat friends, load em in your car, fill the boot with some random heavy stuff and see how it manages ;-)
    As above, when I was a kid in the 70's/80's we used to go camping, family of 4, fully loaded roof rack and trailer using a mk2 Escort 1.3L
    Struggled a bit, but we used to manage from Kent to North Wales....

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    I used to tow my grass track race car with a 1.2 chevette! This would have been a great deal heavier than a quad bike. It was always fine. I'd have thought a 1.4 will be fine for what you have in mind.

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    I would say for something that light you should be able to tow it easily. Just make sure you have a fairly decent clutch otherwise it might not like it. I have done the towing test as was towing food trailers at the 3 tonne mark.

    further to the comment about the test I think its not that both cannot weigh more the 3.5 tonnes its that the trailer cannot weigh more the 750kg and the combind weight not the exceed 3.5 tonnes.

    so the max weight the car can be is 2.75 tonnes.

    The trailer course is pretty simple - its just something you have to get used to doing and is a test of the basics. The driving in a straight line is fine - around the corners you just got to give youself extra space. The reversing - great fun!

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    Correct above that on a licence obtained after the 1997 limit you can tow a trailer up to 750KG so long as the total train weight (car+trailer) does not exceed 3500KG. Not quite so simple as this though.

    You can only tow a trailer that only has the capacity of 750KG total weight. i.e. Towing an empty car transporter trailer weighing 400KG, but that is capable of weighing 3000KG with a full load is illegal, regardless of how much it weighs at the time of towing. So long as the trailer has a total weight limit of 750KG or less (trailer dry weight plus load), you will be fine.

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    A good rule of thumb is that the weight of the trailer + contents should be no more than a third of the weight of the car.

    As for a towing course you will find you wont need one just hitch up the trailer and get some practise in somewhere which will not endanger other road users where you can practise reversing as this will be the most taxing skill you will have to learn, this is a case of left to go right and right to go left as you reverse.

    The more practise you get the better but don't worry too much you will be fine.

    I've towed caravans, trailer tents and other cars and the best cars for towing are diesel as they have more torque than petrol and therefore don't need too many revs to pull.

    Good luck an have fun.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Yeah also the police as good as they are - don't know the complete ins and outs of the towing laws - some do although a lot don't hence why vosa was setup.

    buts if defo worth talking to a towing training center/dvla as they are able to explain everything to you as its one of those where its down to interpretation!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mac_shinobi View Post
    1. Is it possible to adjust the tuning of the car ie torque so that it is better at pulling instead of speed and if so is this very costly to do?
    It is possible by remapping the ECU, but you won't see much of an increase with your car. I did this to my Mini One using a Superchips Bluefin and increased the bhp from 90 to 123 and the torque from 140 nm to 173 nm. Not bad for 239.

    If you had a turbo diesel though...

    Diesel (Turbo)
    An ECU Remap for a diesel turbo engine typically produces 30 - 50bhp & an extra 40 - 60lb ft torque dependant on the specification & condition of the engine, turbo diesel engines give the most impressive power & torque gains with an added bonus of extra fuel economy. Typical gains of 3 - 6 mpg, approx 40-70 miles extra range on full tank of fuel. Additional power is gained throughout the entire rev range, especially lower down, where the initial pulling power is required. A great improvement for vehicles carrying a load, towing etc. (Source)

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arthur View Post
    It is possible by remapping the ECU, but you won't see much of an increase with your car. I did this to my Mini One using a Superchips Bluefin and increased the bhp from 90 to 123 and the torque from 140 nm to 173 nm. Not bad for 239.

    If you had a turbo diesel though...
    After looking around on auto trader I found and remembered ( from top gear ) the toyota hilux for about 2500 for a cheapy one ( at least I think its cheapy ) - contemplating getting a cheapy pickup as per the toyota hilux with a pair of ramps and then I can just drive it on the back, jobs a good un

    I know this is going to make the thread go on a tangent but any thoughts / suggestions / pointers ref getting a toyota hilux or similar and what I should look out for - will go with a diesel engine but other then that totally rubbish with mechanics

    I think there is something to do with the tax being higher if its before 2001 and tax done on emissions from 2001 onwards ( I think ) - obviously with not being ready yet I could do with a very rough idea of what tax etc will be like.

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    alan-d's Avatar
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    You are allowed to tow up to 100% of the kerbweight of your car as long as the total does not exceed 3500Kg without doing a further towing test. However the recommendation by caravan clubs and the like is 85% of the kerbweight of your car. You then have to consider the tow weight the manufacturers place on the car, the handbook should tell you this.
    From what you have said above you should be fine, the Nissan will tow OK for the short journeys you are planning. As for a diesel, I would only consider this if I were making long journeys on a regular basis as diesel cars don't really like short ones.
    Weight distribution on the trailer will also make a lot of difference, you should place heavy items over the trailer axles, too much toward the front or back will make towing very uncomfortable as well as being liable to take you into a ditch or worse.

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